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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Adoni-Zedek

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(Hebrews Adoni-Tse dek, אֲדֹנַיאּצֶדֶק , lord of justice, i.e. just lord; Sept. Ἀδωνισέδεκ v. r. Ἀδωνιβεζέκ, Vulg. Adonisedec), the Canaanitish king of Jerusalem when the Israelites invaded Palestine (Joshua 10:1; Joshua 10:3), B.C. 1618. After Jericho and Ai were taken, and the Gibeonites had succeeded in forming a treaty with the Israelites, Adonizedek was the first to rouse himself from the stupor which had fallen on the Canaanites (Joshua 1:9-11), and he induced the other Amoritish kings of Hebron Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon to join him in a confederacy against the enemy. They did not, however, march directly against the invaders, but went and besieged the Gibeonites, to punish them for the discouraging example which their secession from the common cause had afforded. Joshua no sooner heard of this than he marched all night from Gilgal to the relief of his allies; and falling unexpectedly upon the besiegers, soon put them to utter rout. The pursuit was long, and was signalized by Joshua s famous command to the sun and moon, as well as by a tremendous hail- storm, which greatly distressed the fugitive Amorites. (See JOSHUA).

The five kings took refuge in a cave, but were observed, and by Joshua s order the mouth of it was closed with large stones, and a guard set over it, until the pursuit was over. When the pursuers returned, the cave was opened, and the five kings brought out. The Hebrew chiefs then set their feet upon the necks of the prostrate monarchs an ancient mark of triumph, of which the monuments of Persia and Egypt still afford illustrations. (See TRIUMPH).

They were then slain, and their bodies hung on trees until the evening, when (comp. Deuteronomy 21:23) they were taken down and cast into the cave, the mouth of which was filled up with large stones, which remained long after (Joshua 10:1-27). The severe treatment of these kings by Joshua has been censured and defended with equal disregard of the real circumstances, which are, that the war was avowedly one of extermination, no quarter being given or expected on either side; and that the war-usages of the Jews were neither worse nor better than those of the people with whom they fought, who would most certainly have treated Joshua and the other Hebrew chiefs in the same manner had they fallen into their hands. (Simeon s Works, 2, 592.) (See CANAANITES).


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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Adoni-Zedek'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/a/adoni-zedek.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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